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Old 02-19-2019, 05:33 PM   #1
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Simple solar question for your solar gurus

So I been slowly figuring out my future solar system. I have been "Assuming" that solar controller will take care of this but I have YET read or seen a youtube that addresses it directly.

So its a Yes or NO answer to the following question:

The solar controller will know when your on shore power (because it will sense the coverter charging the batteries and see the voltage at the battery end) so therfore WILL NOT overcharge your batteries while your are hooked up (Same thing when driving down the road with alternator charging system)?

I think the answer is YES but I thought I better ask stupid question NOW so I dont screw something up later.

So you can leave the solar "on 24/7" while in storage, driving, hooked to shore power on on generator power.
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Old 02-19-2019, 05:59 PM   #2
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No, the controller does not sense that your batteries are being charged, but it will sense and adjust based on the voltage state, which will increase as the house charger increases the battery state. So basically both will charge until they sense enough. The problem is neither one is going of State of Charge (SOC) Unless you have a inline shunt that is providing that info to either charger/controller.
That's the problem with standard setups (solar or shore/gen/house chargers), they back down charge level/stage based on voltage and not capacity or your batteries ability or inability to accept a charge.
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Old 02-19-2019, 06:02 PM   #3
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the solar Controller has nothing to do with shore power, it is only 'sensing' power coming thru/from your panels, and sends that to the battery bank

it will, though, know the status of the batteries, and back off the output to correlate with the needed charging of the battery bank, just like your onboard converter or charger does from shore power or generator power.

remember this: your solar panels go thru your controller directly to your batteries... they don't touch or connect to anything else in your rv. They simply RECHARGE your batteries, and do not power anything directly.
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Old 02-19-2019, 06:03 PM   #4
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And yes you can leave the solar on all the tI'm as it and the shore charger will back off when the voltage reaches the programmed level.
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Old 02-19-2019, 06:06 PM   #5
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you'll also find that it's highly doubtful, if not impossible, for your solar to ever overcharge your battery bank, as most folks don't have near enough solar to ever do that - the sun is not out 24/7, only several hours a day at full force - the rest of the 'sun hours' of the day are giving much less power to the panels.

your 'solar' is essentially only a 'trickle charger' for your House batteries...
you'll still always need a generator if you are off-grid very long.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:57 PM   #6
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Ok, thanks. Contoller reads battery volts and charges accordingly (Just like I "Assumed").

Yeah I know that solar is not connected to anything but the battery. Its like have an independant battery charger that only come on for 3 to 5 hours a day when the sun is out (well it might give a small trickle for a few more hours when sun is low in the sky).

I also think my solar setup will help with any "Mooch docking" we will do in our travels. We plan on visiting family accross the USA later this year (and next year(S)) and spend a night or two in their driveways. With the exception of the needing the AC unit when it hot ....I figured I wont need to plug in at all (well unless it cloudy or super cold and I need an electic heater to help out).
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Old 02-20-2019, 12:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Long & Winding road View Post
Ok, thanks. Contoller reads battery volts and charges accordingly (Just like I "Assumed").

Yeah I know that solar is not connected to anything but the battery. Its like have an independant battery charger that only come on for 3 to 5 hours a day when the sun is out (well it might give a small trickle for a few more hours when sun is low in the sky).

I also think my solar setup will help with any "Mooch docking" we will do in our travels. We plan on visiting family accross the USA later this year (and next year(S)) and spend a night or two in their driveways. With the exception of the needing the AC unit when it hot ....I figured I wont need to plug in at all (well unless it cloudy or super cold and I need an electic heater to help out).
Have you estimated how many WATTS of solar you are planning on?
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Old 02-20-2019, 12:40 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Long & Winding road View Post
So I been slowly figuring out my future solar system. I have been "Assuming" that solar controller will take care of this but I have YET read or seen a youtube that addresses it directly.

So its a Yes or NO answer to the following question:

The solar controller will know when your on shore power (because it will sense the coverter charging the batteries and see the voltage at the battery end) so therfore WILL NOT overcharge your batteries while your are hooked up (Same thing when driving down the road with alternator charging system)?

I think the answer is YES but I thought I better ask stupid question NOW so I dont screw something up later.

So you can leave the solar "on 24/7" while in storage, driving, hooked to shore power on on generator power.

Yes.
That is the correct. I have been using mine that way for quite a few years now.
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Old 02-20-2019, 02:31 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mo_Mike View Post
Have you estimated how many WATTS of solar you are planning on?
I think I will go with 200 watts. At first I was thinking 300 watts to offset for shade or cloudy days but really 200 should be fine for my two batteries.

I can always add more later since I plan on going with a 40amp MPPT charge controller.
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Old 02-20-2019, 02:32 AM   #10
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Yes.
That is the correct. I have been using mine that way for quite a few years now.
Thanks.
How many watts did you go with? What brand? How do you like it?
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Old 02-20-2019, 02:41 AM   #11
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Value or Heist

I'm using a price/watt approach to comparing solar estimates.

Is this a good tactic? Best I have a is 640w feeding 4-12v batteries with a 2k inverter installed for $8/watt. I have 2-12v's. The price includes 2 more used 12's because I intend to move to lithium. The inverter and install will accommodate the end game. Inverter and panel specs attached.

Is this a value or a heist?
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Old 02-20-2019, 03:22 AM   #12
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I dont know, I guess thats one way you can compare two diff systems. But you also have to consider who has the best reliabilty and warrentee.....Sometimes it worth it to pay a little more for someone that is closer so you can go back to them easily or has better components etc.

Have you considered installing yourself? Saves you lots of money. Do you know some buddies in your area that are willing to help you for some beers and pizza?

Do your research before you pull the trigger. I have been looked for months (off and on) and have changed my mind on the size, location of components etc.

Sounds like you know what you want overall (4 lithiums, 2000 watt invert etc). Have you measured what size panels will fit best on your roof? You can cut out a couple of cardbroad templates and check.

I thought I would go with two 150 watt at first but really two 100 watt fits better on the back of my RV and I have room for TWO more 100 watt panels for later on (up front).
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Old 02-20-2019, 11:59 AM   #13
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To the OP, the answer is no the CC doesn't know where the source of voltage at the batter(s) is coming from. If you have enough sun light CC output can over come another source. We leave ours on all the time and have no problems.
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Old 02-20-2019, 03:24 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Long & Winding road View Post
I dont know, I guess thats one way you can compare two diff systems. But you also have to consider who has the best reliabilty and warrentee.....Sometimes it worth it to pay a little more for someone that is closer so you can go back to them easily or has better components etc.

Have you considered installing yourself? Saves you lots of money. Do you know some buddies in your area that are willing to help you for some beers and pizza?

Do your research before you pull the trigger. I have been looked for months (off and on) and have changed my mind on the size, location of components etc.

Sounds like you know what you want overall (4 lithiums, 2000 watt invert etc). Have you measured what size panels will fit best on your roof? You can cut out a couple of cardbroad templates and check.

I thought I would go with two 150 watt at first but really two 100 watt fits better on the back of my RV and I have room for TWO more 100 watt panels for later on (up front).
I'm full-timing it and location becomes relative . It's the best overall value from a price/watt that I've found so far and comes with tilt mounts. A lot don't or they want an arm and a leg.

I really want to get into out of-the-way places and not have to run the generator so much. I'm no solar expert and too have been looking on and off for a few years because of the relative payback period - forget ROI.

I thought I'd throw it out here and see what came back. The only part of a self install that bothers me is drilling holes in the roof.

Thanks for feedback.
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Old 02-20-2019, 03:49 PM   #15
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Ok, yeah they say in the winter time you can realize about 30% more solar energy when you tilt them.

But for me - most of my trips are short so unless I stay in one place for like a week I dont think I will bother tilting them. But when I retire I figure I will be RVing more and tilting regularly.

Im not too afraid to drill into my roof (not excited about it but I will do it anyway), I check the dicor on my roof about 2 or 3 times a year. As long as you check it regular I think you will be Okay.
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Old 02-20-2019, 03:50 PM   #16
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yep, being 'still' for a long while will go much better with Solar versus trying to be 'mobile'

I agree with the 'tilt' concern, as well, as everyone may try to get the 'best' panels, and the 'best' batteries, and the 'best' controller, and yet if you simply flat mount your panels to your roof, you'll miss out on much of the sun's power - any cost to tilting is relatively cheap compared to the long-term lost of power by not even trying, if you're really into getting 'all' you can from your system.
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Old 02-20-2019, 05:59 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Long & Winding road View Post
Thanks.
How many watts did you go with? What brand? How do you like it?



I have one 135 watt panel. It' a Kyocera. I think it's rated at 7.4 amps.I purchased all the parts from RV Solar Electric. Two 6V deep cycle batteries. I don't remember off the top of my head what AH they are so won't speculate. I tilt the panel in the fall. Camping in the fall when the furnace is used a lot, the panel doesn't produce enough to keep up with the demand. I have to supplement with the Honda.
I would say the wattage should be a least double of what I have.
The arc of the sun gets pretty low in the southern sky in the fall, so tilting is important in my opinion.



Don't be afraid of drilling into the roof to anchor. Just make sure you are hitting a rafter with your anchor screws. Use Dicor around all the anchor points.

I went thru one of the vent pipes with the lead for the controller and came out in the closet just below the ceiling.
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Old 02-20-2019, 06:32 PM   #18
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Ok, thanks. I think I will go with 200 watts of solar. I like the Renogy brand so far but I might change my mind.
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